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Frugal: Kids' School Clothes - FYI

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Do Your Back-to-School Shopping

in Someone Else's Closet

If your cash-flow has been reduced to a trickle, you may be finding the thought of back-to-school shopping more than a little stressful. Of course you want to send the kids back to school with new shoes, clothes and school supplies, but what can you do if the funds are just not as available as they once were? Get creative! Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

ThredUP. With this amazing website, America's busy families are exchanging their kids' clothing online. Here's how it works: Go to to register. The company will send 10 empty boxes to you. While you're waiting for them to arrive, start browsing the website for boxes of clothing that interest you. Once you find a box of clothes you want, you will pay $13 for shipping and the person who posted that box will send it to you. Then, you list a box of clothing you want to swap. Once your box is chosen, you are notified, and you ship it for free. ThredUP will even arrange for UPS to pick up the box from your home at the time you specify. Membership at ThredUP is free; premium is $29.99 per year. There are thousands of boxes full of clothing just waiting for kids like yours to wear to school this fall.

Consignment stores. Most areas have specialty consignment shops just for children's clothing. Once Upon a Child, a national chain, offers once-loved items, many with tags still attached that have never been worn. You can find locations at

Uniforms. More and more schools are moving to school uniforms. Even for all the benefits, uniforms can be expensive, especially if you have several children. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can save money on school uniforms. More and more stores are stocking them, including Costco. Be sure to check clearance racks in late September and early October after school has started. You can also buy uniforms used. Check children's consignment stores frequently. If your school doesn't already have a uniform resale night, organize one yourself. Have parents bring outgrown uniforms to swap or sell.

Neighborhood swap. You could have a neighborhood swap organized by next weekend. Consider the clothes you have to swap and multiply that by all the houses in your neighborhood. Get the neighbors together, serve some wine and cheese and just see how creative you will be. It'll be good for your pocketbook and fun for everyone.


©Copyright 2010 Mary Hunt
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Frugal: Kids' School Clothes - FYI